A Decade Here: This Week

Nestled in the Hills
Nestled in the Hills

I set out a few days back to get some pictures from back up Nameless Creek while the fog made for such soft, even lighting. (More from that episode soon.) I turned to look behind me from about half way down the pasture, north towards the house. And it occurred to me: ten years ago this week, we moved in. The house was still under re-construction.

At that point in time, from this vantage point, I’d have been in the middle of an over-planted pine thicket, put in for Christmas trees around 1985, then neglected, rangy, and a fire hazard–not to mention a visual barrier.

Over the decade, the five-acre pasture that was gained by dozing and burning the unthrifty pines in 2000 and 2001 has been such a pleasure to walk, to admire clouds by day and stars by night, and to let the dog range back and forth for moles, shrews and mice.

It is the quietest place I’ve ever known. We’ve had ten years of relative silence, save for the creeks and the winds along the ridge, which at this moment are bending even the stoutest trees south and east, silhouettes dipping, rising against the somber sky while across the country, millions have put themselves in the midst of acoustic bedlam for want of the unnecessary baubles of our time and at risk of being crushed.

You’d think maybe this was a perfect opportunity for natural selection to do its work.

About

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

7 Comments on “A Decade Here: This Week

  1. I love the photo…………what a beautiful place to live….

    I always enjoy photos of your home, nestled amongst the woods, etc.

    Acoustic bedlam…….perfect words for a lot of our lives in most cities…….elbow to elbow……driveway to driveway…….

    Fred, to you and yours….. Happy Holidays !!!

    Mark

  2. There is a photo, residing with a former occupant of said home, wherein said tenant’s truck being thirsty rolled across the road and plunged into the creek.
    Laugh not for perchance it could happen again! Fore as you have lived therein for such a brief time as a decade there remains yet opportunity.

  3. I’m glad you had the sense to get rid of the pines in favor of meadow. And I’m amazed that you have lived on Goose Creek 10 years.

  4. “in the midst of acoustic bedlam for want of the unnecessary baubles of our time and at risk of being crushed.”

    So true. Our house is a mere 3 miles from the city limits, but we have almost the same quiet as you. Overnight guests always sleep late, due to the quiet. Sometimes I envy your isolation.

  5. I’m so glad that I was able to share a bit of that 10-year anniversary moment with you that day, Fred. I just wish I hadn’t stayed away so long.

    Leading the life that I’ve chosen here in Atlanta (and in some ways I feel like it actually chose me), it’s not so much the noise that bothers me. It’s the feeling that my life has become a swift-flowing current, and I’m rushing along with barely any time to eddy out and put the paddle down. Goose Creek feels like one of those deep, slow-moving pools where you can relax and enjoy how the current takes you, without having to constantly watch for rocks. 🙂

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